Franko B Archive

(In Spring 2018, the Theatre Collection was awarded funding by the Wellcome Trust to catalogue, conserve and make accessible the Franko B archive.  The project, Challenging Archives, culminates in a public exhibition and symposium in 2020, together with the publication of a comprehensive online catalogue.)  

I wasn’t sure what to expect when visiting the Franko B archive, but I certainly was not disappointed. I have always found blood fascinating; its cultural importance far exceeds its function within our bodies. Franko B’s work highlights this, on a background of his white body and the white floor, it presents blood as something ‘other’, its deep red colour in opposition to the stark white. His painted body adds a sculptural element to his work; it at once anonymises him and, as the blood drips down his body, contrasts the internal and external environment of the body in a way that I found deeply interesting. 

Exploring the images and pieces themselves was interesting in different ways. I got a real sense of his creative process and the thinking behind a piece in a way that I do not think I would have otherwise. As we talked about his work as a group it highlighted the divisive and grotesque nature of his performative bloodletting; I think art should be challenging and I liked having an opportunity to see the range of reactions his art produces, mirrored in the collection of magazine clippings and reviews. 

Some resources

I'm Not Your Babe (1995-96)

Review of Aktion 398 (2000)

In Conversation with Miriam La Rosa

Review of Milk and Blood (2016)

I'm Thinking of You (2009-12, 18)

Sam Stapley

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